17 April 2014

Venice by Foot

My last post on Venice. It's taken a while to get this one up, partially because I'm lazy and partially because I don't want to leave the city behind!

Because we chose to mostly walk rather than take vaporetti around the city we were able to enjoy getting "lost" in the narrow streets of Venice. And while you may get knocked off course a time or two, there really is no way to get truly lost here. Just when you think you are you'll happen upon either signs pointing towards San Marco or the Rialto or a sunny courtyard.

I particularly loved the wandering as I find Venetian architecture to be utterly fascinating. It's really so unItalian and the Byzantine and Moorish influences are incredible. Which lead to a lot of conversations about the Byzantine empire and the importance of Venice (when it was a city state) as a defense to keep the Turks from invading Europe. The sea battles against the Turks came up several times in our tour of the Doge's Palace and, living in Turkey as I do, I had to grin at the exuberance with which our guide described the Venetian triumphs.

I was glad I'd brought my wide angle lens for my camera. My standby lens is an 18-200 mm but other than when we were on the Grand Canal it was pretty useless in Venice's very very narrow streets.

One of my favorite things about Europe, doesn't matter if it's Western, Eastern, Souteastern, what have you, is its cafe culture. Every square is guaranteed to have at least one cafe with tables and chairs. And since this is Italy, we were also guaranteed good coffee if we stopped. Or even better, wine! We tried an Aperol spritzer since they're so popular here, but it wasn't for either of us. For me it was too bitter which, yes, I realize is weird since Aperol is sweet alternative to Campari. I also think Prosecco is dry. I am odd. I embrace it.

On our last morning in Venice we hunted down the Arsenale - the old ship building area. Unfortunately all we got to see was the gate guarding the entrance, but it was still cool. It must have been quite a sight when still operational. Builders here would have been creating everything from gondolas to warships.


Wandering around we also got to see some randomness, like these guys playing water glasses. They were fantastic.

Wandering is thirsty work so we also stopped for refreshments.

Italian Sangia!
And to admire what seem to be cured baby pigs? I am still kind of hoping that this is actually salami shaped like baby pigs because, pork deprived or no, an actual cured baby pig breaks all kinds of my food rules. And I'll eat just about anything at least once.

Calzone I'll eat always!

This waiter feeding pigeons with a little girl is possibly the best thing to ever happen.

I love Italy for this if nothing else!
We had a fantastic trip. I ate a lot of pork, drank a lot of wine, enjoyed being surrounded by Catholic churches, drank some more wine, admired the city's unique architecture, and drank some more wine. As much as I love Istanbul I was sorry to leave Venice behind. And as I finish this last post about this wonderful city I leave you with this:

Yes, this happened

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